We had wanted to get into the foothills of the Southern Alps the previous weekend, but the weather was against us. This Sunday was looking good despite reports of snowfall overnight. Our first view of the hills showed that the snow was not very low at all, so we went into lunch at Springfield hopeful of a good day. When we came outside again, however, a westerly breeze had come up to chill things down.

We stopped at the top of Porters Pass to check propagation with Geoff ZL3QR – not good on 80 nor 40m. Oh well, perhaps 2m might work – on we went, down to Lake Lyndon and around to the southern end.

The 1170m hill (ZL3/CB-570) here is unnamed, so I have christened it the “Lyndon Lump”. It is a straightforward climb up the north-east ridge, initially up an old farm road/track, then some rabbit tracks allow easy movement through the tussocks.

Julia at the summit, the Rakaia River and Mt Hutt beyond
Julia at the summit. The Rakaia River valley and Mt Hutt are in the distance.

The strong westerly made standing on the summit very cold, so we moved down to the east slightly and set up. There was no shelter so the only way to reduce the wind was to lie down.

Lying down to operate due to wind chill. Photo: Julia Page

Starting an activation over an hour later than the original alert time never helps, but Warren ZL2AJ heard my CQ on 40m and I was away. Closer stations were more difficult however. I had to turn up the power to 50w before Geoff ZL3QR and Bev ZL3OV could copy me. None of the local 2m repeaters were accessible from the summit, with other hills blocking the path to Christchurch, so 2m simplex wasn’t tried. I was just able to work Allen and Gerard in VK thanks to Warren spotting me on SOTAwatch. Moving to 20m I encountered some radar QRM and no answer to CQs. Tuning around brought me a contact with Rod YJ8RN operating in the IOTA Contest. That was enough, the cold had become too much so we packed up and headed down.

Log: 31 July 2016
Lake Lyndon from the summit. Castle Hill Peak (ZL3/CB-241) is the high summit in the centre and Trig M (ZL3/CB-536) nearer on the right


Height: 1170m ASL
Directions: Drive on SH 73 to Lake Lyndon and take Lyndon Road to the southern end of the lake. A gravel road branches off here to the Lake Lyndon Lodge, take this and park near the poplar trees just before the Lodge. Climb the vehicle track which leads up the north-east ridge of the hill. The track peters out after a while, continue up the ridge to the top.
Time to summit: Approximately 1 hour walk from the lake, 340m height gain
Summit marker: Wooden post and rock cairn
Land access permission: Not required, Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park
Repeater access: None with 5w and 1/2 wave vertical
Cellphone access: Vodafone/2degrees 3G at occasional points on the way up, but not at the summit
Map: NZ Topo Map
More information: sota.org.uk